Lau man Drever says spirit of friendship echoes through all the songs
Multi-award-winning experimental folk trio Lau return to the isles on Saturday to conclude their UK 10-year anniversary tour at Mareel.
From acoustic underpinnings to electronic augmentations and textures, the group of Kris Drever, Martin Green and Aidan O’Rourke, released their double LP Decade earlier this year.
And there are isles connections too, with guitarist and singer Drever having made Shetland his home as well as sound engineer Tim Matthew.
Speaking ahead of the 21-date schedule, Drever said their material goes “from fully acoustic stuff” right the way through to the last couple of records “some of which we rely on little or no acoustic sources.”
Creating the show in itself has been a process.
“The show is very considered,” he said.
“It’s a way to artfully present 10 years of work and try and make the whole thing resonate together in a way that makes sense.”
The group’s last album, The Bell That Never Rang, features First Homecoming inspired by a move to Shetland, as well as a mammoth 17-minute title track – melting away from eerie string openings to crackling guitar chord progressions.
All three musicians have production credits, and all are involved in collaboration and sharing musical ideas.
“We’re a collaborative entity,” Drever said.
“We came to be because we were doing all of these collaborations with all of these other people.”
Matthew is integral too and has been with the band for the last seven or eight years, including their adventures across the globe.
The sheer amount of gadgetry, pedals, wires and intricacies of the group’s sound is something Matthew is more than familiar with.
“He’s absolutely part of the band,” Drever said.
“We disappear into the writing but he has a lot to say when we’re at the point of making shows or presenting live shows and he has a great amount of input.”
Asked if it feels like 10 years of the band, he replied: “Yes and no, the start of it seems more distant but it doesn’t feel tired”.
The album is “a strong collection” of songs, he believes, “and I think the order works well”.
But as with a lot of creative endeavours, the songs have changed over time, from record to their outings on stage.
“There are things that are on those earlier records that wouldn’t be in them [the songs] now,” said Drever.
“…It’s quite interesting, it’s that philosopher’s axe thing where you have these bits of music, it’s actually the spirit of them that people find identity with.”
An online music folder, shared by the band members, is constantly on the go and filled with ideas.
And sharing their musical influences and the songs they’ve heard can also spring creativity.
“What’s great is coming back and finding out what the other guys have been listening to and that can take you down an alley, or you’re in the van and you’re talking about an album you’ve never heard.”
Ten years down Drever speaks fondly of their music making: “I get to work with my best friends. I don’t think everybody gets to do that.”